Flanders considers that Russia should be banned from entering international sports competitions for four years, given the heavy suspicions of doping hanging over Russian athletes.
Such is the position the Flemish sports minister Ben Weyts (N-VA) will defend this Wednesday when the Council of Europe meets. “The Russian bear is doped,” he quipped.
On Monday, an independent committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recommended that Russia should be suspended for four years from future sports competitions for having falsified laboratory data submitted to Agency investigators.
If this recommendation is accepted by the executive arm, which is meeting in Paris on 9 December, Russia would not be able to take part in the next summer and winter Olympic Games, Youth Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, or host some Euro 2020 football matches, currently scheduled to take place in Saint Petersburg, where two of the Belgian national side’s (Red Devils) games are to be played.
For minister Weyts, there is a need to follow this recommendation. “The time has come to show Russia zero tolerance because the doping culture is deeply rooted there. How many more times are we going to close our eyes in the face of the cheats?”
“They manipulate, lie and cheat. I think the problem lies more with the Russian authorities than the athletes. Only a complete boycott seems to me to be the solution to eradicate the problem,” he added.
The Brussels Times